National Alliance of Families

For The Return of America's Missing Servicemen

+ World War II + Korea + Cold War + Vietnam + Yugoslavia +

BITS 'N' PIECES - April 11, 1999

Dolores Apodaca Alfond

National Chairperson - (

Voice/Fax 425-881-1499

Lynn O'Shea

New York State Director - (

Voice/Fax 718-846-4350

S/Sgt. Andrew Ramirez, S/Sgt. Christopher Stone,

and Spec. Steven Gonzalez

Prisoners of War --- Day 11

We all prayed that the Cypriot initiative to free our POWs would be successful. As we now know, the Serbs refused to free the men. We also know that the U.S. government refused to grant a bombing pause for the Orthodox Easter. One must wonder, what would have happened if the bombing pause had been granted. Would the Serbs have released our men?? We will never know.....

Bombing pauses are not new. We paused the bombings in Vietnam for both the Christmas and Tet Holidays. As recently as this past December, we paused our bombing of Iraq for the holiday of Ramadan. A bombing pause for Orthodox Easter may have allowed the release of our POWs. If the Serbs failed to release the men, we could have always sent twice the bombers after the holiday.

So, why didn't we take this opportunity. The answer can be summed up in statements made by the State Department, Defense Department, and the White House. Simply stated; "The United States Doesn't Negoiate For Prisoners." Our Korea, Cold War, and Vietnam families can attest to that fact!

Were Our New POWs Set Up??? - The following is from an April 8th 1999, New York Post column, by Robert D. Novak (of Evans and Novak) - "On March 23, I received a call from a national security source who told me of secret U.S. intelligence that Serb forces were prepared to abduct American troops stationed in Macedonia. I could not confirm the tip, and besides, it seemed inconceivable that the U.S. military would permit this to happen."

"Wrong indeed. On March 31, three American soldiers . were seized along the Macedonia-Kosovo border in an incident drenched with ambiguity and mystery. Sen. John Warner, the Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has departed from his steadfast support of the U.S.- NATO attacks on Yugoslavia to raise serious questions about what in the world the American troops were doing the day they were taken prisoner."

"No answers have been given to Warner, but the most haunting question is unasked: Why was the intelligence report on the danger of abduction ignored? The chairman, a former secretary of the Navy and a stalwart friend of the military, did not ask simply because he did not know. The warning was not shared with him. The secret intelligence was known to NATO staff officers in Brussels, demolishing the possible explanation that the warning was not passed to the Pentagon by the State Department."

"Even without the intelligence report, however, Warner on April 1 asserted that "to have put U.S. soldiers within just a few miles of a hostile border, someone has to provide this senator an answer to that question."

"Once the troops were dispatched to the border in a Humvee, the U.S. Army's standard procedure prescribed a "rapid reaction force" - probably including another land vehicle and an armed helicopter - ready in case the patrol was attacked. But there was no such preparation, even with U.S. bombardment underway in nearby Kosovo."

"Most puzzling, however, is why the soldiers were in Macedonia at all March 31. They had belonged to the 350-man American contingent that was part of the U.N. peacekeeping, force assigned to the former Yugoslav republic years ago. But that mission officially ended Feb. 28, with 350 Americans removing U.N. blue berets and replacing them with Army steel helmets."

"Their subsequent status is unclear. Warner was told the troops were under NATO command, only providing "force protection" for the 12,000 men (no Americans included) assembled in Macedonia to move into Kosovo for peacekeeping. But when asked whether they were under U.N. or NATO command, a Pentagon spokesman told this column: "They are U.S. Soldiers." That means they were under American operational command."

"Warner publicly posed these questions on April 1: "Why were these troops still in Macedonia over a month after the U.N. mission ended? Who decided to keep these troops in Macedonia and for what purpose? What was the assigned mission of these troops?" That sounds like a senatorial investigation in the making, but Warner is a senator of the old school who abhors any dissonant message sent from Capitol Hill to Belgrade while the war is being fought."

"Warner's House counterpart, Chairman Floyd Spence of the National Security Committee, might not be quite that bipartisan. So, just before an all GOP congressional delegation headed by Spence departed for Europe last Friday, the scheduled stop in Macedonia was peremptorily canceled. It could not have been because of danger, with Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott visiting there Sunday."

"Is there something about the abduction of the soldiers the Defense Department wants to. keep from prying Republican congressmen?"

Perhaps the above article explains why Newsweek reported that in a letter to his Mom, POW Steven Gonzalez complained that his unit had been "left in limbo."

Survey - This week, through our e-mail distribution, we conducted a survey. Requesting a yes or no answer, we asked a very complicated question. That question was; "Ground troops, yes or no." As of this writing, we have received 258 responses. The results - 191 voted "No" to ground troops, 57 said "Yes" and 10 stated they had not yet formed an opinion.

The Russians - have moved 7 ships into position off the Balkan shores. They are threatening us with action should ground troops be deployed. as of yesterday, rumors are rampant that Russia has re-targeted its nuclear weapons on NATO capitals. (Russia has denied these rumors.)

Hey, Washington -- STOP THE CHECK! Why are we financing a nation that is deploying its troops for possible action against us.

Another South Korean Held Prisoner By North Korea Escapes --- from the Deutsche Presse-Agentur Wednesday, April 7, 1999 -- "Seoul (dpa) - A South Korean soldier taken prisoner by North Korea during the Korean War has escaped and returned home with his wife and daughter, reports said Wednesday."

"Seoul's National Intelligence Service (NIS) said 67-year-old Sohn Jae Sool had recently arrived via "a third country" which it did not name. As well as Sohn, who had been taken prisoner in 1950, two North Koreans escaped to the south."

"After he was taken prisoner, Sohn worked in a coal mine in the northeast province of Hamkyongbuk, said the NIS. He managed to escape from the famine stricken communist country with his 64-year old wife and 30-year-old daughter last October."

"The South Korean defense ministry had listed Sohn as dead along with his brother at the end of the war in 1953. The ministry said it believes more than 100 South Korean soldiers are still in detention in the north..."

In the November 1, 1997 edition of Bits n Pieces, we wrote: "Did Anybody Ask - During this weeks visit of Chinese President Jiang, did anyone ask him about Richard Desautels? There sure is plenty to ask about.

"In regards to Cpl Richard G. Desautels.... I met him at POW Camp number 5, at Pyoktong, North Korea, somewhere around the later part of 1952. I even gave him a hair cut and talked to him...." "We stayed together for about two months..." "one day I saw him riding on a truck going off the camp. I was not able to talk to him before he departed, because the Chinese Reds were present." Statement of former POW Heren Cabacar 16 July 1954.

" Cpl Desautels spent 11 mos with a CCF truck supply outfit, after his capture...." "He told me that the CCF would not let him come in contact with other POW's as he knew too much. The last time he was seen to the best of my knowledge was in Pyoktong, in Mar. 1952...."Statement of former POW Walter L. Mayo - 24 June 1954.

"Cpl Desautels.... remained at POW Camp #6 two or three weeks and was then taken away by the Chinese." Statement of former POW Ellis P. Clark - 8 June 1954

"This man was taken to Manchuria after capture and kept with Chinese troops there for 10 months. During this time no english was spoken. So he learned Chinese. He was brought to Pyoktong in about Nov. 1950. According to the Chinese his attitude was bad. He disappeared about the end of Dec. 1951. He may have been released by now or they may hold him because they crossed the border with him in 1950." Statement of former POW William L Lillis - 4 Sept. 1953.

"The last time I saw Cpl Desautels was in April 1953,... In the middle part of April 1953, he told us (me and other GI's, whose names I don't recall), that he was going to be taken to Autung, China. In my opinion, the Chinese Communist Guards knew that Cpl Desautels could understand little Chinese and this was the reason for pulling him from us, since he was translating the communist broadcast news for us." Statement of former POW, signature unreadable, - 17 June 1954

"Cpl Desautels to the best of my knowledge is still alive.... While he was in company 5 (five) Desautels engaged in several arguments with Chinese interpreters saying they did not say what the Chinese commander would say during his speeches to us. Consequently he was soon in ill favor with the Chinese of that company.... To the best of my knowledge he was last seen about May '52." Statement of former POW Westley Little - 10 June 1954

"This man was alive when he left POW Camp #5 in the spring of 1952. Removed by the Chinese." Statement of former POW Douglas Jones - 22 June 1954

"....He was either killed by the Chinese or is still being held." Statement of former POW Clarence Banks - 25 May 1954

"....When he was finally released to a POW camp, he provoked the ire of the Communists by revealing to the men in the compound what was said by his captors in the oriental language. Some time in the Spring or Summer of 1952, he was forcibly taken from the compound by the Chinese Communist...." Statement of former POW Nicholas Leamon - 8 June 1954

"The above mentioned POW was taken into China... He returned to Camp No. 5, in March 1952, at that time he mentioned if he should disappear to make inquires concerning his whereabouts with the proper military authorities...." Statement of former POW Joseph [last name unreadable] - 16 June 1954.

"When we were repatriated, I saw him. He was taken away cause he could speak Chinese, so they took him out of the camp. They said he was a rumor spreader and blamed everything that went on in camp on him. So they took him away and when I was released I saw him in Pyoktong village. He must of been held." Statement of former POW Richard Grenier - 12 June 1954

There are at least 19 statements made by former POWs, reporting Richard Desautels in captivity. By far, the most chilling statement expresses Richard Desautels own fears "...he mentioned if he should disappear to make inquires concerning his whereabouts with the proper military authorities...." Richard Desautels knew he wasn't coming home.

In a summary report prepared by the U.S. Government, former POW Richard Grenier reported that he had last seen Richard Desautels in August 1953. According to the report, "in an accounting furnished by Communist forces on 2 March 1956, Desautels is shown as "escaped." (Note: A similar "accounting" by the Communists listed a known double amputee as "escaped.")

Has anyone asked the Chinese President about Richard Desautels? When most favored nation status comes up for renewal next year, let's ask Congress about Richard Desautels.

Somebody Finally Asked ... But Why did it Take 46 Years? - From the Associated Press - April 8, 1999 by Robert Burns - "The Clinton administration wants China to open its Korean War-era records in search of clues to the fate of several missing Americans, including two pilots apparently killed when their unmarked plane was shot down on a CIA covert mission in Manchuria in November 1952."

The administration also has requested information on three missing corporals -- Roger Dumas, William Glasser and Richard Desautels -- who were held in a Chinese-run POW camp in North Korea. Several repatriated American prisoners reported seeing the three alive and well at the close of the war in 1953."

"In the face of China's reluctance to pursue the matter, Sen. Bob Smith, R-N.H., wrote to President Clinton this week urging that he push the issue in White House meetings Thursday with Chinese Prime Minister Zhu Rongji. Smith said U.S. diplomatic and defense officials had made no headway."

"Mike Hammer, a National Security Council spokesman, said after the Clinton-Zhu meeting that the president did raise the matter and it was discussed at length. He said Clinton urged more cooperation from the Chinese government in searching official records. Hammer said he did not know how Zhu responded."

"Pentagon officials have been pressing the Chinese communist government for more than a year to open its wartime records, but with little result. The People's Liberation Army has insisted that war losses are a closed issue, while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has declared wartime records to be classified."

"Chinese soldiers intervened in the Korean War in October 1950 after the American-led U.N. force, propelled by the Marines' famous Inchon landing the month before, fought their way to the Yalu River on China's border. Later, the Chinese army ran the prisoner of war camps in North Korea, and it moved some American prisoners into China to be interrogated, according to declassified U.S. records...."

"...Among the Americans the Clinton administration has asked China for information about are Robert Snoddy and Norman Schwartz, pilots of an unmarked C-47 aircraft knocked out of the sky over Manchuria on Nov. 29, 1952, while attempting to pick up an anti-communist Chinese agent. On board were two CIA officers, John T. Downey and Richard G. Fecteau, who were captured, imprisoned in Beijing and held until President Nixon publicly acknowledged they were CIA officers."

"It had been generally believed that Downey and Fecteau were the only Americans aboard the plane. But a June 1998 Defense Department document -- a cable to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing -- released by Smith's office this week identified Snoddy and Schwartz as Americans. It said they were killed and presumed buried at the crash site. The Pentagon wants China to provide any information it might have about the pilots' remains."

"A Chinese government memo presented to President Ford in December 1975 mentioned Schwartz and Snoddy, without explicitly saying they were Americans. It said their bodies were buried at the crash site. "Owing to the passage of time, it is impossible to locate them now," the memo said....."

"Regarding the three unaccounted for American corporals -- Dumas, Glasser and Desautels -- the June 1998 cable to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing said China must be pushed to provide answers, saying, "We believe the Chinese should be able to account for these individuals."

"U.S. Embassy in Beijing said China must be pushed to provide answers, saying, "We believe the Chinese should be able to account for these individuals." Gee, this should come as a real surprise to Bob Dumas, Rogers brother. He has been saying this for the last 45 years! For More Information on Roger Dumas, and Richard Desautels visit the Korean War section of our website.

Remains Identified - The remains of Harold Reid USMC have been identified and returned to his family for burial. Reid went missing on September 13, 1967. According to Reid's brother remains recovered consisted of 42 bones and fragments are mostly from his brother's arms. Based on mt-DNA testing, bones recovered last year were identified as Harold Reid.

To the Reid family we hold you in our hearts and prayers during this difficult time and hope that you know have the answers you have waited so long for.

Another Family's Questions - On April 18, 1999 remains identified as Douglas Martin and Samuel Larry James will be intered at the Air Force Academy Cemetary. While Capt. James' daughter accepts the identification, his mother Virgie James, and his sister Barbara White DO NOT. Larry's identification is based on a dog tag found at the site and several teeth which DO NOT match Capt. Martin and "compare favorably" to Capt. James.

The dental identification of Capt. James is far from conclusive. Four independent dentists reviewed the odentolgist report. Their opinion is split down the middle, with two saying it could be Capt. James and two saying it might not be Capt. James. A dental comparison should either match or not match. A favorable comparison, is not sufficient for an identification.

The identification of remains is not a game of horseshoes.

Close does not count!

Neither Larry's mom nor his Sister will be attending the April 18th internment. Both Mrs. James and her daughter Barbara ask that those wearing Larry's POW bracelet continue to wear the bracelet, as they do not consider him accounted for.

Why does Johnnie Webb still have a job?

Bring Him Home Alive Act - S484 - Don't forget to contact your senators and ask that he become a co-sponsor of the "bring Him Home Alive Act" Address your letters to: Senator [Insert name], United States Senate, Washington D.C. 20515.

This is important legislation! Send your letter, today!

POW bracelets cut with the names of our three servicemen held in Yougoslavia are available from the "Last Firebase." Cost is $15.00 per bracelet, Price includes shipping. To order: Call 1-800-452-8906 during duty hours EST.

The National Alliance of Families Tenth Annual Forum is scheduled for June 17th - 19th, at the Sheraton Center City Hotel, Washington D.C. (same as last year.) Room rates at $105.00 per night. To make your reservation call 800-526-7495 or 202-775-0800. Remember to say you are with the Alliance. contributions are needed to keep the Alliance going. Donations may be mailed to:

National Alliance of Families

P.O. Box 40327

Bellevue, Wa. 98015

Remember all contributions are tax deductible.

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